Spaghetti Squash Lasagna is loaded with protein and is a delicious low carb alternative to traditional lasagna. It makes healthy eating easy!
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Spaghetti Squash for Lasagna
This is one of those recipes that once you read and make it once, you won’t really need the recipe again because it’s that easy! To be honest, these are my favorite kinds of recipes.
Subbing spaghetti squash for pasta is one of my favorite ways to cut some carbs out from a meal. So I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite pasta dinners, like skillet lasagna, that I can make with spaghetti squash instead.
A spaghetti squash lasagna was one of the first things that came to mind because I LOVE a good lasagna (who doesn’t?), but I struggle with how many carbs are in it and the idea that I will be eating lasagna for days (or until it’s gone).
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great family meal or weekly meal prep but sometimes we just need something a little healthier around here!
Ingredients For Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
A good handful of ingredients make up this Spaghetti Squash Lasagna recipe, but that’s what makes it sooo flavorful! Ingredients are below, and you can find the measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Spaghetti Squash- A long, oval yellow-ish squash, it’s flesh flakes into long strands similar to pasta. Full of water and virtually flavorless, it makes the the perfect blank slate as a low carb “pasta”.
- Ricotta cheese– Use whatever fat content you desire, but full fat will produce the richest and creamiest flavor.
- Parmesan cheese- Freshly shredded parmesan cheese has the best texture and flavor. Freshly shredded at the store is fine, but do not use shaker cheese. It is highly processed to stay shelf stable and won’t melt. It also has a distinctly different flavor. Parmesan cheese can be swapped for parmesan reggiano or pecorino romano for a nutty flavor.
- Italian seasoning– A blend of dried herbs including basil, oregano, parsley, marjoram and rosemary. Fresh can be used, but this is a fast recipe, so we opted for dried herbs.
- Garlic powder– Or granulated garlic. Using both dried and fresh gives a wide variety of garlicky flavor.
- Lemon juice – Adding a touch of acidic citrus notes brightens the dish and helps it stand out from others. Fresh juice is tart, while the zest is used in the panko topping for a true and full lemon flavor.
- Spinach – Gotta get your leafy greens in! Add more spinach if you wish.
- Yellow onion – Yellow provides a stronger onion flavor, white or sweet can also be used.
- Garlic– Use fresh garlic. Jarred minced garlic is a time-saver, but often has a sweet taste. Always measure garlic with your heart!
- Ground turkey- This is supposed to be a lighter dish, so lean turkey is an obvious choice, but any ground meat with work as the protein. Ground beef, ground chicken, ground pork or even ground venison. A blend gives even more sophistication.
- Tomato basil marinara sauce– Or any tomato based sauce you wish. A spicy sauce, like fra diavolo, is also an option. Vodka sauce is fun too!
- Shredded mozzarella cheese– Use fresh, low moisture cheese. This will produce less water as it melts. Pre Shredded cheese saves time and is very low moisture, but also doesn’t get as melty.
- Fresh basil- This is optional, but offers a delicate fresh herb flavor. And it looks pretty!
I like to top my spaghetti squash lasagna boats with a toasted lemony panko. It’s honestly my favorite part because crunchy textures are the best! Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- panko bread crumbs
- lemon zest
- olive oil
The panko is optional, but also totally necessary because it’s SO good and in my opinion, ties everything together!
I usually toast the panko in the same pan I use to make the meat sauce so that I don’t have to dirty another pan.
The lemony panko is so good on pastas too, like this Tomato Ricotta Pesto Pasta.
How To Make Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna is one of those things you only need to make once to memorize. I say that about very few recipes, but I feel like most of us have a pretty good idea of how to make lasagna and could probably do it with our eyes closed!
This low carb lasagna isn’t much different. It’s pretty simple and straightforward and only uses one pan, a mixing bowl and a baking sheet, so you won’t be left with many dirty dishes!
1. Prepare the squash and preheat the oven to 400° F. Using a sharp knife, cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise and then scoop out the seeds.
Spaghetti squash timing instructions are based off of a 4 pound spaghetti squash. If yours is larger, adjust the time as necessary. I recommend an extra 1-2 minutes in the microwave for each pound over 5 and an extra 5 minutes in the oven per pound.
2. Bake the spaghetti squash. Brush the inside of the spaghetti squash with a thin layer of olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and place each half cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove and flip over, roast on facing up for 10-15 minutes or until strands pull easily with a fork. Pull all strands and set aside.
3. Prepare the spaghetti squash lasagna filling. In a large mixing bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and lemon juice.
4. Prepare the meat sauce. heat a large pan on medium-high heat and sauté the garlic and onion until the onion begins to soften. Then add the ground turkey (or ground meat of your choice) and cook for 6-8 minutes or until fully cooked. Add the marinara sauce, season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
5. Pull the spaghetti squash strands. Remove the squash from the oven, flip it over and let it cool for 5 minutes. Then pull at the strands with a fork and place them in the mixing bowl with the filling. Add the spinach, and toss everything together until it’s fully combined.
6. Put it all together! Add the spaghetti squash filling back into the “boats”, divide the meat sauce between each one, top them with mozzarella cheese, and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and toasted panko, and serve.
Note: I like to prepare the spaghetti squash lasagna filling, meat sauce, and lemony panko while the squash is in the oven. That way everything can be ready around the same time. It helps to cut down on the total time spent!
Fun fact: Did you know spaghetti squash strands actually grow in a circle? When you slice the spaghetti squash in half horizontally, you will get longer strands that are more spaghetti-like.
When I don’t plan on using the shell of the spaghetti squash as a vessel for holding my entire meal, I cut the squash horizontally, it’s a little easier to manage.
When making spaghetti squash boats, it’s best to slice them lengthwise so they don’t roll over. You can also make a very thin slice on the bottom so they don’t roll, just don’t cut through to the base. I think they look prettier this way, too!
Alternative Cooking Methods and Freezing
If you prefer, you can cook spaghetti squash in the microwave. Since spaghetti squash acquires most of its flavor from other elements in the dish, I don’t think there is much of a difference between roasting it and making it in the microwave.
When it comes to freexing spaghetti squash, I prefer to eat it fresh. But if you’d like to, you can freeze it by placing the cooked spaghetti squash strands in freezer-safe zipper bags for up to eight months.
- Meat chopper – this handy tool makes breaking up any type of ground meat super easy. It’s the only tool I use for the ground beef in this spaghetti squash boat recipe!
- Baking sheet – this is what I use to roast my squash in the oven.
More Low Carb Recipes to Try
- Healthy Low Carb Chicken Salad
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Seared Scallops and Spaghetti Squash
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Recipe
Filling & Meat Sauce:
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese , shredded
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 lemon , juice
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1/2 pound ground turkey , ground beef or chicken work too!
- coarse kosher salt & ground black pepper
- 1 cup marinara sauce
Toasted Lemon Panko:
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Using a sharp knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard.
- Brush the inside of the spaghetti squash with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper, and place each half cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes or until you can easily pull the strands with a fork. Flip, cut side up and continue to roast for another 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the squash from the oven, flip it over and let it cool for 5 minutes. Then pull at the strands with a fork.
Filling & Meat Sauce:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, lemon juice and spinach. Mix until evenly combined.
- Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, add the remaining 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and sauté the garlic and onion until the onion begins to soften. Add the ground turkey and brown for 6-8 minutes or until fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the marinara sauce and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together the pulled spaghetti squash and ricotta filling.
Toasted Lemon Panko (optional):
- Heat a small skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the panko in a flat layer on the pan.
- Toast the panko for 2-3 minutes on one side, then toss it around the pan and toast for another 1-2 minutes until it is golden brown. Mix in the lemon zest, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a small bowl until you're ready to use it.
- Add the spaghetti squash and ricotta filling back into the "boats", divide the meat sauce between each one, top them with mozzarella cheese, and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and toasted panko, and serve.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.